Today I visited our manufacturing site in Clear Lake, Texas. This plant makes a variety of acetyl based chemicals, but it’s gaining recognition for being the home of the company’s latest innovation, TCX® ethanol technology. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2012/04/03/ethanol-minus-the-corn-it-could-fuel-america-if-it-werent-illegal/)
The minute I walked in the door I noticed a positive buzz, in part, because employees are proud that TCX® ethanol technology was invented at Clear Lake by a local team of talented Celanese scientists.
And then there’s the construction that has begun for a new research and development center at Clear Lake and a TCX® commercial demonstration unit that will be operational later this summer.
But there’s one more reason for the excitement; our employees see the possibilities that low-cost natural gas means for the chemical industry.
In fact the recent availability of plentiful, low cost natural gas has everyone talking because it’s good for Clear Lake and Celanese and because it’s good for world economies.
Here’s just a few reasons that come to mind:
Natural gas is a key feedstock for Celanese and our industry. Affordable and available natural gas creates growth opportunities for producers and customers. That drives economic progress and prosperity. The downstream impact is significant as you think about the jobs this creates directly and indirectly. According to the World Economic Forum, about 10 percent of all new jobs created in the US last year were in the oil and gas industry.
The shale gas “revolution” in the US is beginning to drive further exploration outside the US. Advances in gas extraction have encouraged companies and governments outside North America to explore how the growth here can be brought to their economies. That could mean more job growth and more opportunity in Europe and China.
Abundant natural gas has helped transform the US from a net energy importer to a net energy exporter giving regions such as Asia and Europe the opportunity to leverage this environmentally favored, energy-dense feedstock for their manufacturing needs as well.
We fully support expansion of these efforts in the US and beyond. I’m confident that the industry will operate safely and responsibly. We are just beginning to see the benefits of the “shale gas” revolution and look forward to its continued growth.